I remember the day I spotted her early on in my new junking career. She was sitting on a driveway in a north section of the city. I asked the woman what she knew about the grease and dust covered piece. The lady merely shrugged and said, "He left it behind and I'm getting rid of all his stuff." There was a piece of masking tape on her head: $3. I had three dollars; it wasn't hard for her to go home with me.
There was something about the lines of this piece I couldn't get over. Being a youth of the '60s and '70s, all I could hear playing in my head was "Age of Aquarius." I still think of that song every time I look at her, happily displayed on my mantel though she doesn't really match the style of my room.
She was quite sticky with grime as she was an unglazed piece of ceramic and very porous. Lovingly I cleaned her with a soft toothbrush and baking soda. The grime came off leaving a soft bisque color. On the bottom was a silver Haeger pottery tag, marked 1985 copyright 6039. I google that information and came up pretty short. Plus she really didn't date from the era of the song -- a bit later.
My search came up with little except one untraceable photo of the same form in a standard pink Haeger glaze. But it was a dead-end. Today when I google the information, the first three Google entries lead me to this photo of mine that is on one of my Pinterest boards. But then I found an Ebay entry of "Art Deco Lady's Head" that sold for $89.99 in 2014. Then another called a "Flying Woman's Head" sold earlier this year for $79.99 in a soft white glaze.
I've owned many smaller pieces of Haeger over the past five years that I've been in the vintage market. None has moved me as much as this piece. I've sold many vases in the soft white glaze: shapes of urns, shells, and animals. But this is the only unglazed piece that I have come across.
Early on, I discovered that the grooves and waves of her hair look amazing after the sun goes down. She sits on my mantle with the two can lights in the ceiling pouring soft light onto her. Her mystic quality entrances me whenever I enter the room at night.
After 145 years, Haeger Pottery in East Dundee, Illinois will close its doors next month. Citing an ungoing recession and a market deluged with inexpensive Asian ceramics, the family owned company will be no more. It has existed longer than my family farm in Iowa and the town I come from. I will think of this every time I turn over a piece of pottery and find the Haeger name. And now, each one of those will find its way to my store or my home. And my Aquarius lady will stay with me.
Funny how you can fall in love with a brand just from a $3 garage sale purchase.